[awr-uh-ree, or-]

noun, plural or·rer·ies.

an apparatus for representing the positions, motions, and phases of the planets, satellites, etc., in the solar system.
any of certain similar machines, as a planetarium.

Origin of orrery

First recorded in 1705–15; named after Charles Boyle, Earl of Orrery (1676–1731), for whom it was first made
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for orrery

Historical Examples of orrery

  • You therefore present this orrery to any person, and desire him to choose one of the questions there written.

  • He gave notice, says Orrery, that he would read prayers every Wednesday and Friday.


    Leslie Stephen

  • The packet being sealed, Orrery did not know the contents, and Pope asserted that he had burnt it almost as soon as received.

    Alexander Pope

    Leslie Stephen

  • He clutched it in his hand and touched it against the orrery, trying to remember the formula for the giving of a true name.

    The Sky Is Falling

    Lester del Rey

  • Then he straightened, moving his hands toward the orrery in passes too rapid to be seen.

    The Sky Is Falling

    Lester del Rey

British Dictionary definitions for orrery


noun plural -ries

a mechanical model of the solar system in which the planets can be moved at the correct relative velocities around the sun

Word Origin for orrery

C18: originally made for Charles Boyle, Earl of Orrery
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for orrery

1713, invented c.1713 by George Graham and made by instrument maker J. Rowley, who gave a copy to his patron, Charles Boyle, 4th Earl of Orrery (Cork) and named it in his honor.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper